item 15 - Jeanette Jarnow interview, 1994 December 20

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US NNFIT SC.FITA.3.20.4.9.4.15

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Jeanette Jarnow interview, 1994 December 20

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  • 1994 December 20 (Creation)

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Jeanette Jarnow started out as coordinator of the FIT Merchandising Department in September 1956. In the early 60s, she was promoted to chairperson of the department. She held that position until 1986 when she retired and went back to full time teaching.

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Carol Poll was a professor of sociology at FIT and interviewed members of the FIT community for the FIT 50th Anniversary oral history series.

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Jeannette Jarnow, former Chair of the Fashion Buying and Merchandising Department (FBM), discusses the small and intimate nature of FIT when she joined in 1956. She discusses the founding of the school by Morris Haft, Virginia Pope, and a handful of fashion industry insiders. She then describes the birth of the FBM department thanks to an endowment by Bergdorf Goodman as well as close relationships with Lord & Taylor, Abraham and Strauss, and Bloomingdale's. Jarnow touches on influential people from each department store and then goes into the student demographic make-up of the 1950s. Jarnow describes the changes at FIT over her 38 year career such as the former dress code. She then describes fundraising events and field trips to wholesalers and retailers. Jarnow also remembers famous speakers coming to the school such as Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy. She recalls that Virginia Pope used to take students to the opera and other public events to experience fashion and culture. Jarnow briefly touches on her time as Chair and describes the publication of her book, “Inside the Fashion Business.” Jarnow also emphasizes FIT’s international reach and the vast array of career options alumni have experienced. Finally, she mentions the Oral History of FIT taken by Mildred Finger which was housed in the library.

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Legacy video file ID: VOH72

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Archivist's note

There's a false ending fade-out at the end of this interview when Jarnow brings up the FIT oral history interviews that Mildred Finger conducted ten years prior.

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